23 January 2006 :

Perrie Dyon Simpson was executed early morning for the 1984 murder of a retired minister, the North Carolina Department of Correction said. Simpson, 43, was executed by injection at Central Prison for the death of retired Baptist preacher Jean E. Darter, 92, on August 27, 1984.
A day earlier, the minister had given food and $4 in cash to Simpson and his girlfriend and allowed Simpson to use his telephone. Simpson was pronounced dead at 2:17 a.m. said spokesman Keith Acree. "I want to say I am sorry for what I did," Simpson said in a last statement. "I'm sorry for the victim and the families. I'm sorry for my family. I'm sorry for everybody." The execution came after Governor Mike Easley rejected Simpson's clemency request and after the US Supreme Court rejected his appeal. In the federal appeal, defense lawyers said Simpson suffered from a severe brain disorder which went undiagnosed and untreated and affected his ability to control impulses. Defense lawyers said if the problem had been known at Simpson's original trial in 1985, the jury might have been persuaded to sentence him to life. The defence also said it learned in December that a judge entered the jury room during deliberations in Simpson's 1993 re-sentencing trial and told jurors that Simpson would be released in a few years if he was sentenced to life in prison.
That claim was denied this by another Superior Court judge.
Prosecutors said Simpson confessed to the crime and that his conviction had been reviewed already by state and federal courts. Prosecutors also pointed out the gruesome nature of the murder -- Darter was found with his neck tied with a belt to the bedpost. A broken bottle was nearby and Darter had been beaten so severely with it that there was glass in his eye. Blood was pooled by the bed and Darter had been deeply cut from elbow to wrist on both arms with his own razor blades. Simpson was 21 at the time and his girlfriend was 16-year-old Stephanie Eury. Eury, who also was convicted of murder, is serving a life prison sentence.
There have been 39 executions in North Carolina since 1976. There are currently 192 people on death row in the state, including 4 women.

other news